Body donation for cancer research: How biomarker testing helps detect and treat cancers 

Body donation for cancer research: How biomarker testing helps detect and treat cancers 

According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 2 million people living in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer in 2022, and roughly one in three people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. 

Annually, 21% of all new cancer cases diagnosed are lung and bronchus cancer. The high prevalence and aggressiveness of this form of cancer render it most deadly. Each year, lung and bronchus cancer causes 3 times the number of deaths of colorectal cancer, the second most deadly cancer.

Prevention and treatment of lung cancer

Research has shown that several preventative steps can be taken to lower your risk of lung and bronchus cancer. The Mayo Clinic recommends the following:

  • Don’t smoke. If you currently smoke, stop smoking and avoid exposure to secondhand smoke. 
  • Be sure to consume a healthy diet which includes plenty of fruits and vegetables. 
  • Get plenty of exercise to maintain overall health. If you don’t currently exercise regularly, develop an exercise regimen that begins with minimal activity and slowly progresses in its duration and scope.
  • Avoid exposure to other known carcinogens, and have your home tested for radon. 

Upon diagnosis of lung cancer in a patient, chemotherapy is generally included in the plan to treat and combat the disease.

Chemotherapy is intended to stop the growth and spread of cancer cells

Unfortunately, traditional chemotherapy cannot differentiate between cancerous and healthy cells, rendering healthy cells subject to the same fate as cancer cells, in some instances.

A wide array of adverse side effects — including hair loss, loss of appetite, nausea, and fatigue to name a few — accompany chemotherapy treatment, negatively impacting a patient’s overall quality of life.

Lung and bronchus cancer survival rates are improving

According to National Cancer Institute statistics, new cases of lung and bronchus cancer have decreased over the past decade. Overall awareness and an increase in healthy life choices have facilitated a downward trend in new cases diagnosed annually. 

During this same period, the overall survival rate among lung and bronchus cancer patients has seen a marked increase due to advancements in the ways medical science is able to detect disease and personalize treatment. 

Science Care Donors Contribute to Research and Development Intended to Improved Cancer Detection and Treatment

Members of our Donor Community continue to afford researchers and drug discovery entities the opportunity to improve upon advancements made in the realm of biomarker testing.

Biomarker Testing

Biomarker testing has been shown to be effective in the prediction and early detection of cancer. It:

  • Seeks to identify key data and information pertaining to specific genes and proteins present within the patient, and their unique patterns — some of which can impact the effectiveness of certain cancer treatments
  • Affords medical professionals the opportunity to tailor and render precision treatment specific to a patient’s individual needs and levels of responsiveness based upon personalized information, facilitating better outcomes. 

The information obtained through biomarker testing has allowed:

  • Researchers to better understand the molecular makeup of cancer cells
  • Drug discovery entities to develop treatments focused specifically on targeting cancer cells and/or the cause(s) of tumor growth. 

As more knowledge is gained through research thanks to body donors, biomarker testing should continue to advance and:

  • Be effective for even more patients
  • Provide new precision treatment options
  • Reduce the need for treatments which may have unintended consequences and side effects that negatively impact a patient’s overall health and wellness

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